James Porter Explains Why Deadliest Catch Is Better Than Anything on Food Network and Names One Local Chef He Could Happily Spend a Week With
See also: James Porter, Eddie Matney and Others Team Up with Local Brewery to Make Their Own Beer
Nikki Buchanan Porter at the entrance to Petite Maison
If your cooking were a genre of music, what would it be?: Grateful Dead, or any other great "jam band." It's a spontaneous collection of ingredients that just feels right.
Describe a meal you'll never forget and why it's so memorable: At the Biltmore Hotel, in Coral Gables, Palme d'Or Restaurant prepared by Chef Phillip Ruiz. It was 27 courses, five bottles of wine, and seven hours. It was my last day working there. I ate by myself because I wanted to immerse myself in the experience.
Name a culinary mentor and explain what you learned from that person:
Master Chef Peter Timmons, the chef at The Greenbrier during my apprenticeship. He taught me where my threshold for pain is.
Do you watch Food Network?: Ab-so-lutely-effin-not. If you really want to know what it's like to work in a kitchen, watch Deadliest Catch. It's unscripted, passionate, and shows true determination through unforeseen difficulties. Working in a kitchen is more often like being at sea during a storm -- not in a studio with makeup artists.
Name a chef (or two) you'd love to spend a week with and explain why:
Anthony Bourdain, Marco Pierre White, and Christopher Gross. Can you imagine how fun that would be? Crazy-ass chefs with true-grit experience.
What do you wish we had more of: Months when the temperature is below 90 degrees.
Explain your thought process in creating the menu for Petite Maison: The whole concept for Petite Maison happened so naturally it's almost hard to describe. When I saw the building for the first time, I just knew it should be a bistro that transports guests to a place far, far away. The menu may look simple, but it includes some of the most difficult and time-honored techniques a cook can use. I wanted to honor my trade and the time-honored craftsmanship of the great chefs.
What's your pet peeve in the kitchen?: Dull knives, not having stations set on time, and when my cooks say, "Yes Chef!" but they really mean, "Holy shit, I have no idea."
Nikki Buchanan Herb-crusted Scottish salmon with summer succotash and tomato fondue